"If you're fortunate enough to be as successful as our company has been, then it's your responsibility to give back. I just believe that." - Art Van Furniture Chairman & Founder, Art Van Elslander
Art Van Furniture is dedicated to Michigan communities. When Chairman and Founder Art Van Elslander saw Michigan's charitable organizations struggling in these lean economic times, he rose to meet the need. In 2009, he stepped up to launch the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge, to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. Van Elslander donated $1 million to be divided among 50 charities throughout the state supporting children, health and human services. The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, were positioned as "challenge grants" to maximize giving potential and provide further assistance to the charities.
The response was immediate and overwhelming! The charities turned that $1 million into over $4 million through additional fundraising efforts. Recognizing the program's tremendous potential, Van Elslander continued the Million Dollar Charity Challenge with additional $1 million contributions again in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge continues its positive impact on 150 Michigan charitable organizations. In addition to continued support for the 150 charities, the program has focused on two important organizations: Focus:HOPE and Forgotten Harvest.
As part of the 2011 program, Art Van donated $50,000 to Focus: HOPE. In 2012, the company has committed $1 million in funding and over $20,000 worth of food, books, art supplies, and mattresses. Art Van's support will go even further, in the form of quarterly fundraising and friendâraising events in its stores. Mr. Van Elslander was a close friend of Focus: HOPE's coâFounder, Eleanor Josaitis, and said this about the company's commitment to carrying on her work: "Eleanor had such a strong impact on so many lives. Keeping her spirit, her legacy and her work alive is imperative." For more information: Focus:HOPE
"I believe that hunger is a fundamental issue that contributes to many of the challenges we face in our region, such as education, health and crime," said Art Van Elslander. Forgotten Harvest, one of the original Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge grant recipients, was chosen for a special $1 Million contribution because it is a vital source of food to many of our charity partners and to the community. The Art Van donation will enable Forgotten Harvest to provide the equivalent of five million meals, or roughly 14,000 meals per day. Forgotten Harvest is America's most efficient food rescue organization. Part of our work with Forgotten Harvest is support of the Good Neighbors Holiday Campaign. For more information: Forgotten Harvest
In addition to its support of Focus: HOPE and Forgotten Harvest, Art Van Furniture awarded bonus grants to the other 148 charities throughout the state that have been part of the Million Dollar Charity Challenge family since 2009 â continuing its extensive support of organizations providing assistance for children, health and human services.
Visit www.artvancharitychallenge.com to learn more about our recipients and how you can donate to causes throughout Michigan.